DIYEatsSan FranciscoTravel WritingsUncategorized

How to Cheaply and Easily Make Your Own Bread

Sign up for the best newsletter EVER!
STUFF IT IN YOUR FACE

STUFF IT IN YOUR FACE

It is my ultimate destiny to bake bread: I am too broke to buy it every day, and bread is delicious. It is only a natural progression. Unfortunately, said natural progression didn’t happen so naturally. Initially, I wanted to blame most of my inability at baking bread (actually, all of it) on being Jewish (because Matzo bread jokes).

 (Then I remembered that Challah existed, and I realized my jokes wouldn’t make any sense, anyway.)

Turns out I’m better at writing than baking bread (or thinking of topical jokes), so logically, I have decided to document my journey and blog about it.

In all my years of indigence it had never occurred to me to bake my own bread. Yes, ok, in France it would have been a sacrilege (which is a French word that I know) since there, the bread is just so stupid delicious. Here, however, it’s meh. And like they say, there’s no better time than the meh time.

(Also known as: “if not now, then meh?”)

Baking bread is really easy, cheap, fast, and a much healthier option than the Wonderbread you can get for the same price in the States, or in Spain for that matter (here known as “Bimbo”).

(In case you were wondering, if you type “Bimbo,” into Google you get a combination of pictures of white sliced bread and scary naked blonde women. If you type in “Mitt Romney” you get the same result.)

I will also include a Handy Dandy Picture Recipe in case you are just as failure-prone as I am, so that you, differently than I, can hide it. Instead of, you know, blogging about it.

(I do it for you, my children of the internet.)

To bake bread, you 1) activate the fresh yeast by mixing it in a container with flour, sugar and warm water, 2) cover it for about 45 minutes while it rises, 3) mix a larger amount of flour, sugar and salt in a big bowl, 4) add the leavened yeast mixture, 5) stir and knead until it becomes dough, 6) cover it and leave it in a warm place, and then 7) bake it! Before baking it, you can even choose to do a second rising, which is a lot less jesus-y than it sounds. Essentially, this just consists of 6.5) lightly punching the dough to let some of the air out (and for some other real reasons of which I am not aware), before letting it rise again.

ATTEMPT 1 i.e. my angry complaint to the yeast that did not rise at all, thereby causing my dough to remain shamefully small:

Dear Yeast,
You are a dick. Way to staunchly refuse to do the one thing you do best and not rise to the challenge (heh). Knowing that you are, in fact, alive, I can only hope that you are sentient enough so that this letter comes off as sternly scathing and detached. Sincerely, R.

Basically, my first attempt at making dough consisted of adding too much salt right from the get -go (because mmm sodium). Turns out, (lesson 1) fresh yeast hates salt. Long story short, I awoke to see that the dough I had left overnight had remained itty bitty.

Had I baked it, the bread would have been too dense. Instead, I flattened it out, covered it in butter, and fried it. It turned out not to be the worst thing I’ve ever made. Also, my Swiss roommate ate it out of pity and he did not die, which everyone knows to be the global standard of whether something is a Wild Success or not.

ATTEMPT 2 i.e. a slightly less exciting, more subtle failure of simply baking the bread for too long:

What began fairly well, ended with roommate S coming home to find me sitting in front of the oven, watching the bread bake, because I ain’t no sucker. To be fair, I had had an exceedingly unlucky day, and I was legitimately concerned that I might accidentally set fire to myself, to the house, and to my still-alive Swiss roommate. Which I did not do, meaning I again enjoyed a Wild Success.

This time, although the dough had risen, I had baked it for too long, so the bottom of the bread had become a little blackened. As my roommate told me once she found me, “Oh, didn’t I tell you? (lesson 2) The best way to tell when bread is done is to tap on the bottom – if it sounds hollow, it’s ready!”

ATTEMPT 3 i.e. WILD SUCCESS BUT FOR REAL:

To be noted: I use fresh yeast, because my roommate had it, and I am broke. As I mentioned previously, when you use fresh yeast, you have to activate it (yes, like a death ray) with warm water, sugar and flour (like I said, like a death ray), and THEN you make dough with it.

(Please excuse the quality of the pictures. I’ve tried to make them look less terrible by making them black and white, which I think just gives the whole process a doom-like, Ingmar Bergman feel.)

Observe:

Take a jar about this size.

1 | Take a jar about this size.

2 | Put about this much fresh yeast in it.

2 | Put about this much fresh yeast in it.

3 | Then, put like this much flour in it.

3 | Then, put like this much flour in it.

4 | Add this much sugar, more or less.

4 | Add this much sugar, more or less.

5 | Then add a little bit more, even though you’re so sweet you don’t even need it (d’aww).

5 | Then add a little bit more, even though you’re so sweet you don’t even need it (d’aww).

6 | Fill your fancy whiskey glass with warm water (no, not whiskey…not today). The water should be almost hot enough to burn you, but not quite.

6 | Fill your fancy whiskey glass with warm water (no, not whiskey…not today). The water should be almost hot enough to burn you, but not quite.

7 | Mix it in a fast and exciting way, as shown by this blurry action shot that I totally took on purpose and not by accident.

7 | Mix it in a fast and exciting way, as shown by this blurry action shot that I totally took on purpose and not by accident.

8 | It’ll then look like this, I guess.

8 | It’ll then look like this, I guess.

9 | Use the catholic-fashion-blogger-grandma looking foulard your roommate gave you to cover the yeast and protect it from the light.

9 | Use the catholic-fashion-blogger-grandma looking foulard your roommate gave you to cover the yeast and protect it from the light.

10 | Catholic-fashion-blogger-grandma look making you feel uncomfortable? Have fun with it. Turn it into your own interpretation of what Tupac would look like if he weren’t dead (OR IS HE) and if he were a jar of yeast (OR IS HE).

10 | Catholic-fashion-blogger-grandma look making you feel uncomfortable? Have fun with it. Turn it into your own interpretation of what Tupac would look like if he weren’t dead (OR IS HE) and if he were a jar of yeast (OR IS HE).

11 | Hide it from the light but also from the Paparazzi. I personally like to make sure there’s a way I will walk by and remember it’s there, because knowing myself I am capable of forgetting I am making bread for days on end, and then die of hunger.

11 | Hide it from the light but also from the Paparazzi. I personally like to make sure there’s a way I will walk by and remember it’s there, because knowing myself I am capable of forgetting I am making bread for days on end, and then die of hunger.

12 | After 10/15 minutes, ish, it should look like this. You can see the little yeast bubbles!

12 | After 10/15 minutes, ish, it should look like this. You can see the little yeast bubbles!

13 | More yeast bubbles!

13 | More yeast bubbles!

14 | Ok. Now you’re ready to put like this much flour in a bowl about this size.

14 | Ok. Now you’re ready to put like this much flour in a bowl about this size.

Add a small tablespoon of salt, more or less.

15 | Add a small tablespoon of salt, more or less.

16 | OMG MORE SUGARRRIHUCDnIDWCOI (like this much).

16 | OMG MORE SUGARRRIHUCDnIDWCOI (like this much).

17 | After you’ve mixed the sugar, salt and flour, feel free to take your anger our on it and practice your sweet moves by punching it right in its floury face.

17 | After you’ve mixed the sugar, salt and flour, feel free to take your anger our on it and practice your sweet moves by punching it right in its floury face.

18 | Then, you’re going to pour your goopy yeast mixture into fist-hole you made in the pile of flour.

18 | Then, you’re going to pour your goopy yeast mixture into fist-hole you made in the pile of flour.

19 | Let’s keep this baking session hardcore and mix it with a KNIFE (I know right).

19 | Let’s keep this baking session hardcore and mix it with a KNIFE (I know right).

20 | If it needs more water (which it probably will) add some more warm water to the jar of remnant yeast-stuff and add it little by little. Be extra careful because it’s really easy to add too much. The idea is to add just enough that it ends up like…

20 | If it needs more water (which it probably will) add some more warm water to the jar of remnant yeast-stuff and add it little by little. Be extra careful because it’s really easy to add too much. The idea is to add just enough that it ends up like…

21 | …this. All the flour will have been mixed in, and it’ll be wet enough to be able to be kneaded into a solid ball, but dry enough that it won’t stick too much to your hands.

21 | …this. All the flour will have been mixed in, and it’ll be wet enough to be able to be kneaded into a solid ball, but dry enough that it won’t stick too much to your hands.

22 | Before putting it back in the bowl, pour a little bit of oil in the container and make sure it’s spread around evenly to keep your balls from sticking (tee hee). I have strategically placed a bottle of oil in the picture so you all know what oil looks like.

22 | Before putting it back in the bowl, pour a little bit of oil in the container and make sure it’s spread around evenly to keep your balls from sticking (tee hee). I have strategically placed a bottle of oil in the picture so you all know what oil looks like.

23 | Cover it with your foulard of centuries of religious guilt and repression, and then accessorize it to keep that pesky despair away.

23 | Cover it with your foulard of centuries of religious guilt and repression, and then accessorize it to keep that pesky despair away.

24 | After a few hours, give or take, it will have risen to look like this; it should have roughly doubled in size.

24 | After a few hours, give or take, it will have risen to look like this; it should have roughly doubled in size.

25 | After pre-heating the oven to 200 degrees centigrade, you’re going to goop the dough onto the tray (on a baking sheet) and bake it for about 30-45 minutes or whatever.

25 | After pre-heating the oven to 200 degrees centigrade, you’re going to goop the dough onto the tray (on a baking sheet) and bake it for about 30-45 minutes or whatever.

And behold! BRED.

STUFF IT IN YOUR FACE

For you to stuff right in your face.

Like this article? Make sure to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a goddamn thing!
Previous post

Your Startup Sucks: In The Bedroom

Next post

Broke-Ass Artist of the Week: Jewelry Designer, Rozalyn LeCompte Galyean


Rae Bathgate - Down and Out and Overseas

Rae Bathgate - Down and Out and Overseas

Rae, known also (depending on the country) as Rachelle/Raquel/ Rachele (and often sadly mistaken as Richard, because biblical names are hard you guys) is an aspiring writer and now sort of a dick for having actually defined herself as such. She was born and lived over the first half of her life in Italy; she then moved to the States and lived a good ten years there (including in SF). Currently back in Europe, she is neither a hapless American tourist nor a snobby European jerkyjerk; luckily for you, she is some weird ungodly combination of both. Also, she’s broke and is probably stealing bread crumbs from pigeons.